This Week: Something for Everyone, From Solar to CES!

Greetings, climate tech enthusiasts! This week saw no shortage of noteworthy developments in the world of climate tech: from massive solar investments to plant-based steaks, small modular batteries for residential use, and more – there’s something here for everyone. Let’s take a closer look!

Solar panels cover parked cars at Qcells' Georgia plant.

Image by Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last year saw numerous battery and car manufacturers announcing gigafactories one after another. This week’s news suggests 2023 could be a huge year for the US solar industry.

On Wednesday, Hanwha Qcells, a Korean manufacturer announced it would invest $2.5 billion in Georgia to expand an existing factory and build a new campus that covers the entire solar panel supply chain from silicon ingots to finished panels. This was spurred by the Inflation Reduction Act’s investment/production tax credits which should cover about half of the cost of production—reducing China’s cost advantage.

U.S. efforts to promote domestic solar are not new, yet this time may be different due to increased demand, Chinese panel competition and the Great Recession’s aftermath.

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A Caterpillar sign at CES 2023 reads, "JOIN US AS WE BUILD A BETTER WORLD."

Harri Weber of TechGround provided the images used.

Harri Weber from TechGround attended CES this year and saw encouraging climate tech advancements, such as smart hoses and sprinklers to reduce water consumption, as well as home energy systems. Although there was some ‘AstroTurf’ marketing at the show, overall it was an optimistic experience.

Project Eaden plant-based meat alternative

“Project Eaden is an image-based project that uses a variety of different images to create something unique. We use photographs, paintings, illustrations and more to craft something special. Every single element in the project is carefully chosen so that

Plant-based meat industry leaders have had a tough few months in the markets, yet Project Eaden shows there is still hope: they recently added €2.1 million to their existing seed round.

Project Eaden, a Berlin-based startup, has raised €10 million to refine its technology of spinning plant-based protein fibers into cuts of alternative meat with a texture similar to the real thing. The company is aiming for production scale in future funding rounds.

Blue flames burn on a gas stove.

Photo by Daniele Carotenuto, Getty Images.

Gas stoves are bad for both your health and the environment. Asthma rates in households with gas stoves are much higher than those without, and their emissions footprint may be small but they allow outdated fossil fuel systems to remain in use long after they should have been replaced.

Why discuss gas stoves this week? Rich Trumka Jr., of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said they are a “hidden hazard” and that all options would be considered if the industry couldn’t self-regulate. This sparked right-wing politicians to use it as another wedge in ongoing culture wars, but consumers may decide for themselves by researching induction vs gas stove options.

John Deere earth mover with large front bucket

John Deere is a leading manufacturer of agricultural machinery, construction equipment and related services. They have been providing innovative solutions to customers since 1837 when they built their first steel plow. Now they offer a full range of products

John Deere recently reached an agreement with the American Farm Bureau Federation, granting farmers and operators access to tools and repair information needed to fix their complex equipment without having to go through the manufacturer. This MOU was a major boost for the right-to-repair movement.

Farmers, independent repair shops, and operators won’t get a perfect deal from Deere–they’ll still have to do without trade secrets and confidential info. But given that Deere has been resistant to right-to-repair requests in the past, this news is likely a welcome relief for all involved. It should also help keep equipment running longer in the fields.

Image Credit: Yoshino (link opens in new window)

It’s here – batteries are revolutionizing the world. With electric vehicle R&D and manufacturing capacity on the rise, I knew it was only a matter of time before other sectors were transformed for good. If CES 2021 is any indication, that tipping point has been reached!

At CES this year, Haje Jan Kamps of TechGround was surprised by the range and variety of battery-powered home energy solutions. From stackable batteries to 100-pound wagons to milk crate portables, there’s something for everyone. Plus, the whole-home systems that include solar inverters, smart circuit panels and EV chargers are sure to revolutionize homes in the next five years – if this show was any indication!

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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